Control of our schools

 

Sir, – Niamh Sammon (Opinion, April 10th) asks if it is right “that institutions that presided over the abuse of children should maintain control over most of our schools?”.

She makes no reference to the fundamental changes in awareness, attitude and public policy across all institutions that care for children in Ireland today or to the rigorous child safeguarding protocols in place in schools, hospitals, sports centres and churches of all denominations. And it is doubtful if any other institution in today’s Ireland is more stringent and systematic in its approach to the protection of children than the Catholic Church.

There are many other national institutions, both voluntary and statutory, which have failed children, but you never hear calls for their withdrawal from their roles in public life, only for their reform.

Failures are usually deemed to be systemic and there is little media interest in doggedly pursuing culpable individuals. Not so when allegations concern church personnel.

Niamh Sammon’s piece appears to be no more than a preamble to the writer’s issues with the slow pace of school divestment in north Dublin. According to her, the State must not “sit on the sidelines” while parents and communities weigh up the pros and cons of opting out of Catholic management. It is ironic that once again the people and their opinions about how they wish their children’s schools to be run is to be suborned to ideological, national policy. – Yours, etc,

MARGARET HICKEY,

Blarney, Co Cork.